Gulaal (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Directed byAnurag Kashyap
Written byRaj Singh Chaudhary
Anurag Kashyap
StarringRaj Singh Chaudhary
Kay Kay Menon
Deepak Dobriyal
Mahi Gill
Ayesha Mohan
Jesse Randhawa
Aditya Srivastava
Piyush Mishra
Abhimanyu Singh
Music byPiyush Mishra
CinematographyRajeev Ravi
Edited byAarti Bajaj
Distributed byZee Limelight
Release date
  • 13 March 2009 (2009-03-13)
Running time
140 minutes, 154 minutes (uncut)
Budget3.2 crore (US$450,000)
Box office7.8 crore (US$1.1 million)(First week), 13.2 crore (US$1.8 million)

Gulaal (गुलाल gulal colour powder) is a 2009 Indian political drama film directed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Raj Singh Chaudhary, Kay Kay Menon, Abhimanyu Singh, Deepak Dobriyal, Ayesha Mohan, Jesse Randhawa, Piyush Mishra and Aditya Srivastava. It explores themes such as pursuit of power, quest for legitimacy, perceived injustices and hypocrisy of the powerful. The film is set in present-day Rajasthan, a state in northwestern India. The plot is provided by student politics of a university and a fictitious secessionist movement consisting of former Rajput leaders who have become present-day elite. Gulaal was initially stalled due to financial concerns but was later released with support from Zee Limelight.


In the fictional town of Rajpur, Dilip (Raj Singh Chaudhary), a law student who is a Rajput from Bikaner, and his faithful servant, Bhanwar (Mukesh Bhatt), secure housing in an old, run-down British-era pub. Here Dilip meets Rananjay Singh “Ransa” (Abhimanyu Singh), a prince who despises the ideologies of his father and the aristocracy. Ransa's straightforward and fearless personality has quite an effect on the mild-mannered Dilip.

Dilip visits the university hostel where he is ragged by a gang of university thugs, led by Jadwal (Pankaj Jha). They strip him and lock him in a room with Anuja (Jesse Randhawa), a young lecturer in the same university. Dilip and Anuja are released naked. Dilip's brother tells him to ignore the event and that things were the same in his days, effectively stating that the society as a whole hasn’t changed much since his time. But Ransa disagrees and tells Dilip that they should avenge this act. Initially, Dilip is reluctant but gives in and goes with Ransa, after Ransa provokes him to give the thugs a taste of their own medicine. But the tables are turned and Dilip and Ransa are beaten, ragged, and thrown out of the hostel. Ransa meets Dukey Banna (Kay Kay Menon), a local figure who is trying to gather support for the Rajputana separatist movement, who allows them to proceed with the plan to injure Jadwal. Ransa and Dilip ambush Jadwal, but the other thugs corner them in a cinema hall. Dukey Banna intervenes and rescues them. Dukey Banna then convinces Ransa to compete in the General Secretary Elections at the university. Running against Ransa is his father's out-of-wedlock daughter, Kiran (Ayesha Mohan).

Ransa is kidnaped by his father's out-of-wedlock son Karan (Aditya Srivastava), who asks him to withdraw from the elections. Ransa mocks him and Karan kills him. Taking advantage of the situation, Dukey Banna makes Dilip take Ransa's place in the election. The chances of Dilip winning are minimal, so Dukey Banna bribes the electoral panel to rig the count in Dilip's favour. Dilip wins the election to become the general secretary. Kiran then seduces Dilip and convinces him to allow her to become the cultural secretary. Dukey Banna starts using the funds for the Rajputana separatist movement. When Dilip finds out, he goes to confront Dukey Banna about the funds. Banna lets Dilip know about the movement and tells him that the funds are being used for it. Dilip is not convinced and tries to reason with Banna.

A frustrated Banna takes Dilip to his country estate where his thugs have killed Jadwal. He shows him the body to intimidate him. Anuja is thrown out of the hostel and moves in with Dilip. Kiran gets pregnant and is angry with Dilip for being careless. She gets an abortion and leaves Dilip. Anuja tries to make Dilip understand that Kiran has no interest in leading a married life and leaves him. A frustrated Dilip resigns from his post and Kiran steps in. In a private meeting, an irate Dukey Banna threatens Karan and Kiran by telling them that the only reason they're alive is because of their links to the local king. She then tries to seduce Dukey Banna. She fails when Bhati (Deepak Dobriyal), Dukey's second-in-command, comes looking for Dukey.

Dilip, blinded by his love for Kiran, becomes violent and aggressive. Anuja also decides to leave him. Meanwhile, Dilip finds out about Kiran from Banna's mistress, Madhuri (Mahi Gill). He grabs a gun, goes to Banna's house and shoots him. While dying, Banna tells him that Kiran used Dilip to get to him. At the same time, Karan reveals to his group of thugs that once Dukey Banna is out of the way, the Rajputana movement will have no choice but to choose Karan as its new leader and, therefore, legitimise his royal status. They conclude that, to get rid of Dukey, they must first eliminate Bhati. Dilip wants to hear the truth from Kiran, so he tells Bhati to get her on the phone. Kiran refuses to answer. Bhati goes off to find her and is killed by Karan's thugs. Dilip meets Kiran who tells him that all she wanted to was use him to become general secretary. Dilip rejects her explanation and almost shoots her but gets shot by thugs. Despite his injuries, Dilip walks back to his house and dies there. The film ends with Karan as the head of the Rajputana movement, while Kiran sheds a tear as one of the loyal faithful.

Parallel to the plot there is the character of Dukey Banna's brother Prithvi Banna (Piyush Mishra). He wears bizarre dress and seems a psychotic. He talks very satirically and is often abused and slapped by Dukey banna for this. It is told in flashback that he was a guitarist in his young days. Along with him there is a person characterised as Ardhanarishvara, who is killed by Dukey Banna mistakenly when Dukey Banna was outraged with his brother and aims to shoot him and misses.



Production on Gulaal began in 2001, when Anurag Kashyap was listening to songs from Pyaasa and his film Paanch was struggling with censors.

Inspired by Mohammad Rafi songs from Pyaasa ("Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai") and Zeenat ("Haye re duniya") the film is a dedication to Sahir Ludhianvi, the lyricist of the song and all other poets who had a vision of India. The story was partially based on a story idea by Raj Singh Chaudhary who eventually played the role of Dilip Singh in the film.[1] The film was delayed for three years. It was released in March 2009.[2] The first trailer was released with the director's other movie Dev D.

Critical reception[edit]

Gulaal received positive reviews from critics. Anupama Chopra of NDTV gave three stars and referred to Anurag Kashyap as Anti-Yash Chopra.[3] Raja Sen of gave it three stars and said that "fantastically watchable film that scores high on moments."[4] Nikhat Kazmi gave three stars and said that "the film scores in having taut performances and a gritty screenplay as well."[5] Noyon Jyoti Parasara of gave the film 3.5 stars and said "Anurag scripts every character cleverly providing an identity to even the smallest characters and also a contrast in form of another character – true playwright style. He even has the jesters coming in to bring some comic relief but also more importantly they bring in a message."[citation needed]

even rotten tomatoes gave a 97% out of 100 and was acclamied by Tamil writer Charu Nivedita said Gulaal is the "best political film" ever in Hindi and a document of current political history.[citation needed]

It was screened at the 2009 London Film Festival. Since then, the film has gained significant cult following.

Gulaal is one of the films featured in Avijit Ghosh's book 40 Retakes: Bollywood Classics You May Have Missed.

Box office[edit]

Although the critics' reviews were favourable, the movie opened to only 30 percent capacity during its first week in theatres across India. In addition, word of mouth was poor, which could lead to slowdown at the box office for its runs in the weeks that followed.[6] Box Office India stated that Gulaal netted 7.8 crore (US$1.1 million) in its first week, which was below expectations.[7] The opening, at around 30% occupancy, was poor, though marginally better than some other recent films.[8][9]


Award Category Nominee Result
Stardust Awards Best Breakthrough Performance – Male Abhimanyu Singh Won
Standout Performance by a Music Director Piyush Mishra Won
IIFA Awards Best Supporting Actor Abhimanyu Singh Nominated
Best Performance in Negative Role Kay Kay Menon Nominated


Soundtrack album by
Released13 March 2009
GenreFilm soundtrack
1."Ranaji"Rekha Bhardwaj5:50
2."Yaara Maula"Rahul Ram, Asheem Chakravarty3:09
3."Aarambh"Piyush Mishra4:59
4."Aisi Sazaa"Shilpa Rao4:53
5."Sheher"Swanand Kirkire, Piyush Mishra7:34
6."Beedo"Rekha Bhardwaj5:03
7."Duniya"Piyush Mishra6:49
8."Raat Ke Musafir"Rahul Ram4:29


  1. ^ Jha, Sumit (27 March 2009). "'Anurag is more than Godfather to me'". Times of India. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  2. ^ Varsha Pillai (29 January 2009). "Anurag Kashyap's Gulaal to release after 5-yr delay". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
  3. ^ Anupama Chopra. "Gulaal". NDTV. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  4. ^ Raja Sen (13 March 2009). "Gulaal is a compelling watch". Rediff. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  5. ^ Nikhat Kazmi (12 March 2009). "Gulaal". Times of India. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  6. ^ "'Gulal doesn't spray color at the box office'". 19 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  7. ^ "'New Releases Dull Jai Veeru And Gulaal Poor'". Box Office India. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  8. ^ "Weekly Box-Office Report: Gulaal and Zizou find little colour at BO - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  9. ^

External links[edit]